“Saying that the purpose of a company is to make money is like saying that your purpose in life is to breathe.”
Jim Barksdale; legendary Silicon Valley investor and philanthropist
Purpose is your North Star. A purpose beyond profits gives work meaning and is the vision, objective, rally cry and shaping context that transforms a collection of individuals, workgroups, offices and locations into an organised, productive, creative and engaged workforce – all in it together. And purpose isn’t restricted to employees – when all stakeholders are engaged and participating in delivering the purpose, its galvanizing and energetic power can be remarkable.
The first job of every leader is to connect people to purpose; so that amid all the hecticness of daily activity purpose shines brightly, it shapes decisions and actions, it governs behaviours both practically and ethically. Purpose is the ‘why’ that drives the ‘what’ and the ‘how’.
Purpose powers profits; not the other way around. At the very heart of the profit-making activity of a business is a higher purpose – the point of making money is so that the business has the stature, talent, experience, relationships, scale and resources that enable it with huge impact to make a unique contribution to the world.
The key to a powerful purpose is the intrinsic good that is at the heart of the business’ value proposition. A business adds value through the goods, products and services it sells. Its purpose is intrinsic good built from this value – the improvement or betterment this value brings about.
Being one of the world’s leading consumer goods companies enables Unilever to have a purpose to “Make sustainable living commonplace.”
As the world’s most aspirational and successful electric car brand, Tesla is on purpose “To accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable transport.”
Microsoft’s leadership in technology enables its mission “To empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.”
Businesses work every day to make money, to grow and to thrive.
But they exist to deliver on their purpose.
Kindness fuels and accelerates purpose.
The heart of a business’ purpose is intrinsic good that can enrich lives, communities and the planet. Kindness itself is intrinsically good. It has the power to magnetise, galvanise, and energise throughout a business and beyond to all its stakeholders and communities.
There is a simple causal relationship you can see at work all over the world – kindness in business powers purpose.
Kindness is mindset, values and actions. When a business has kindness at its heart, then it focuses on the good and the positive in what it can achieve. Businesses with kindness at their core are more focused on the intrinsic good of purpose, compared with those businesses who are simply focused on making money.
And the world has moved on. Forever. Customers and consumers are voting with their wallets. They are speaking out against the unethical – those who still think it is ok to take, rather than enrich. People do not want to buy from, work for, or be associated with the unkind.
And that is why it is so vitally important to ensure that kindness is operating as powerfully as it can with purpose.
Our audit of kindness fuels and accelerates purpose and make recommendations in three areas:
- Are you powered by kind purpose – what is the intrinsic good that is built out of your value proposition?
- Are you sharing your purpose effectively with your people, your partners, your stakeholders and the world?
- How, where, when and with whom are you delivering on your purpose?